The Princess is doing a project on hurricanes in school. Her father and I told her about the Irish hurricane; probably the only hurricane which has been used to test pension entitlements. I read her out the entry on the “big wind” from the Oxford Companion to Irish History:
“big wind”, the storm which ravaged Ireland, particularly the west, north and midlands, on the night of Sunday, 6 January 1839. High winds uprooted trees, destroyed buildings, killed livestock and, in built-up areas, spread fires. Although one newspaper put total deaths at 300 or more, a suvey of contemporary reports has found about 90 documented fatalities, 37 of them at sea. When old-age pensions were introduced in 1909 memories of the storm were one of the tests used to identify persons over 70.
Herself was spectacularly uninterested in this piece of national memory but the “big wind” looms large in the national imagination, you know, as kick-starting a series of disasters: first the big wind, then the famine, then mass emigration, then the failed 1848 uprising, then the sacrifice of our first born children to the subordinated bond holders and so on. You too may be uninterested in the “big wind” especially if you live in a country that has had a hurricane since 1839 but today is day 9 of Nablopomo and I am finding it a bit difficult to think of anything to post. Never mind, only 21 days to go.
In other news, today my sister is celebrating her birthday in Hawaii. I am not envious. Personally, I find November rain invigorating. Particularly on a bicycle.